Ninth Sunday after Pentecost (July 22nd)

Pastor's Summary of Ephesians 2:11-22

The author has reminded his readers that we have our saving faith through God's gift-of our faith and of his love for us. Through our faith, we realize that God's gift exists. Being Christ's, we are to do good works. He now addresses himself in those who are "Gentiles by birth" (v. 11). He reminds his non-Jewish readers that they were, at one time, "without Christ" (v. 12), without hope of union with God, not being parties to God's pacts with Israel. They had no "hope" of union with God, and were "without God", with no true knowledge of him. "But now" (v. 13) they, once "far off" distant from God's ways, have been brought hope through the cross ("the blood of Christ"). (Jews were not permitted to have contact with Gentiles, for fear of being defiled ritually.) Cultural differences are no longer relevant-what matters is that we are "one new humanity" (v. 15): the divison is gone. Christ has brought the two groujps together"in one body" v. 16, the Church). His message was (and is) one of "peace" v. 17)-to Gentiles ("far off") and to Jews ("near"). We both come into his presence ("access") through Christ, participating in the action of the Holy Spirit, "to the Father". So we are all fellow members of God's heavenly and earthly community ("saints", v. 19). (A household included all: parents, children and slaves.) Christ started this "household"; he is the "cornerstone" (v. 20) of it. those who preceded us, "apostles and prophets" laid the foundation; it is a sacred "structure" (v. 21), edifice, "temple", the Church, continually growing spiritually.